The Nichols and Cardinal O’Hara boys basketball squads have combined for some thrilling and tight games over the past few years.
This meeting between the two was not one of them.
The Hawks took down Nichols 80-49 in Monsignor Martin Division B play at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the early going, as both sides turned the ball over and scored in transition, and with around two minutes to play in the first, Nichols held onto an 11-10 lead.
It turned out to be their last lead of the contest.
“They’re our best competition within our division, it was a good win to keep the guys focused,” said Hawks coach Tony Pulvirenti. “They controlled the pace to start the game but once we took control of the pace the game got out of reach.”
O’Hara (9-0, 2-0) outscored the Vikings 28-11 after Nichols took their final advantage, and had a large 38-22 halftime lead, and they didn’t slow down there.
An 18-4 run to begin the third quarter saw them open up their lead to 56-26, and they held a 61-35 lead after the third.
Every Hawk helped to contribute the rest of the way, as junior Avion Harris finished with 17, senior Justin Hemphill with 15 and, off the bench, sophomore Henry Smith had a career high of 13.
Most notably however was Jermaine Haynes, who continued his hot hand with 23 points to lead the team.
“It wouldn’t matter as much to me if I was scoring well and we weren’t winning, but we are and it feels great,” said Haynes, who had 41 points in the Hawks last win against Kenmore East. “We’ve always had a good team but we never could finish it off on top, but that’s what we’re working towards.”
It certainly was not an easy game heading in for Nichols (3-5, 0-1), as they were short two senior starters in Jake Bair and Chris Stineman.
After starting 3-1, they have now lost four straight, and hope to get back on track against St. Mary’s of Lancaster next week.
“We have to play with who we have, and we’re going to battle and we’re going to learn. It’s good for other guys to get in there and step up,” said Nichols coach Joe Mihalics. “We needed to slow O’Hara’s speed down, they’re athletes and we have to be able to control the pace.”
Junior Aidan Horan finished with just over half of his team’s points, tallying 25 to lead all scorers.
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